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Japanese Folk Song on the Sanshin (家庭和合)

Background - an ancient volumetric Japanese re...

Over the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time preparing for an sanshin performance. For those who don’t know, the sanshin is an traditional three-stringed instrument popular in Okinawa. I started playing earlier this year and ended up joining a サークル (club) in my area.

Last week, the サークル (myself not included) performed at a traditional Miyakojima folk song (宮古民謡、みやこみんよう)concert. My camera unfortunately broke a few weeks ago, but I did manage to capture it with my iphone.

*If you don’t understand any of it, please don’t worry. It is sung in the Miyako dialect which bares very little resemblance to Japanese. The hardest part of learning hasn’t been the sanshin, but remembering the words in Miyakogo!

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Reading Japanese Words in Style

close up on keys of old  typewriter

So you finally figured out how to read and write Japanese on your computer (if you haven’t, do this right away). The problem is that the standard fonts for Japanese aren’t very good. In addition to just being plane bad looking or difficult to read, there may occasionally be characters that don’t show up. Since you will see Japanese words written in all different kinds of fonts and handwriting, it is also a good idea to get used to lots of different ones. But don’t worry. This post is all about choosing a new font.

Michele Romanini (the same person who turned the 1000+ common Japanese words into an SRS list) has found a great list of fonts that can be downloaded. Since there are quite a few different kinds of fonts, you should be able to find something to your liking.

Installing fonts will vary depending on the OS you are using, but there is a a lot of documentation on the web. Simple type “installing fonts in (name of your OS)”.

You can find the Japanese Fonts at the link below

Japanese Fonts

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Great Video Series to Learn Japanese

I am always on the lookout for good Japanese learning tools. With all the available channels there are a lot of different types products, but to be honest, many fall very short of really teaching you the language. But every once and a while, I happen to stumble across one that really impresses me. What’s even better is that this particular video series is completely free.

Now I will admit that Let’s Learn Japanese is a little bit outdated, but the over all content is great (and I did mention free right?).

The videos do a great job, of putting the Japanese words and conversation in context so you can get an understanding even if you don’t understand the Japanese. They then break it down and explain the meaning and have you practice the various Japanese phrases and words .

The other thing I like is that the series is shot as a funny and interesting little story. While it isn’t a blockbuster, I thought the film crew did a good enough job that I wanted to keep watching. The story line follows Yan, a foreigner coming to work and live in Japan.

There was also a companion book for the video series called “Let’s Learn Japanese”, but it seems to be out of print now. I was able to find some PDF copies on Scribd.

You can find the rest of the Japanese videos below:

Japanese Basic I- I am Yan

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Japanese Pronunciation with Syllabry

I happened to come across what I think is a very good video for practicing Japanese pronunciation.

Japanese doesn’t have a lot of sounds, but some of the sounds it does have are difficult for English speakers. Luckily, the more you practice the better you will get. Even if you are advanced, getting back to the basics every once and a while is a good idea.



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1000 Common Japanese Words for Anki or Mnemosyne

a blank writing pad on a table.

The most popular post on JapaneseWords.net has been 1000+ Japanese Words List. As the title suggests, the post contains a list of over 1000 common Japanese Words and Kanji. I am proud to announce that the list has just gotten much better.

Thanks to the hard work of Michele Romanini and his wife Bika Fujioka, the list is now available for download for Anki and Mnemosyne. In addition to making the list usable in Anki and Mnemosyne, he has also divided the original into multiple lists (english to hiragana, hiragana to English, English to Kanji, etc). The ability to use Anki will allow you to study over 1000 common words and kanji in a very efficient manner.


I have included two files below. One is in “mem” format (Mnemosyne format) and the other in txt format. Either one can be imported into Anki.

 

Japanese Word Lists

Click Here to download Mnemosyne format

Click Here to download txt format

Japanese Study Tip

When dealing with a list of this size it can be a little bit overwhelming. Setting up a study schedule and a goal will prove to be very helpful. For instance, you might try to learn 5 or 10 new words a day. Or choose the date of completion and then figure out the number of words you will need to remember each day!

Special Thanks

Thanks once again to Mr. Romanini and Mrs. Fujioka for their  hard work! Putting this list into a format usable by Anki and Mnemosyne greatly improves it’s value

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